Day 15 — Against Techno-utopianism

Today's technology capitalists — like capitalists of the past — are actively building our future, claiming that they're simply pursuing the inevitable.

They are making the choices around what will be built, where the money should be directed, and who will be involved. Yet, they argue that we as consumers dictate what the future will look like — if we don't buy it, they can't sell it.

Investors like Marc Andreesson see many of our collective problems:

...as functions of a society that clings to old ways of regulating and incentivizing economic activity. For him, a more fulsome embrace of technology capitalism will serve to strengthen society. — Lizzie O'Shea, Future Histories

We cannot influence the direction of society's progress without contributing in re-building the foundations, but very few of us have the ability or permission to do so. Those who do often do not look like us, think like us, or live like us.

In Working in Public, Nadia Eghbal argued that infrastructure is "recursively defined by public consensus. It's the set of structures that we've collectively decided are most valuable in any given moment, and, therefore, its boundaries and definitions are expected to change over time."

I believe that technology has the power to fundamentally change our world for the better. At the moment, though, the vast majority of the general public has no hand in collectively deciding on the development of our social, political, and economic infrastructure.

To really achieve progress, everyone must have a hand in building the future.